Intended for healthcare professionals


Improving doctors’ working lives

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 28 March 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j1411
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. BMJ Careers
  1. arimmer{at}


Health Education England has published a progress report on the work it’s doing to improve junior doctors’ working lives. Here are five of the key issues it identifies

1. Late rota notification

Junior doctors will be given 12 weeks’ notice of their placements rather than the previous target of eight weeks. To help them plan their lives better they will also be informed of their rotas with eight weeks’ notice rather than six weeks.

2. Flexible training

HEE is proposing a 12 month pilot to reduce the restrictions on higher trainees in emergency medicine who want to apply for less than full time training. It is also considering alternative flexible training models, including “non-clinical” days for junior doctors.

3. Rising costs of training

HEE is working with the medical royal colleges to collate the costs of training to increase transparency. It will share its findings with junior doctors and ask the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges to agree principles with regard to exam and course fees.

4. Frequent moves

A working group will explore the rationale behind, and the perceived benefits of, junior doctors rotating through different placements at different sites, from the perspective of employers, trainees, and educators. The group will make recommendations for improvements.

5. Study leave

HEE has developed proposals for greater coordination and control of the study leave budget to ensure that all trainees get the funding needed to progress through their specialty curriculum. This would replace the current system, where trainees generally receive a notional fixed annual allocation.

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